It’s moving fast: The promised benefits of nanotechnology in food applications are astounding, almost unbelievable. For example, applying certain nanomaterials (simply put: materials manipulated at an atomic level) to conveyer belts in food production plants could prevent pathogen growth by keeping the belts clean and lowering the chance of contamination. Nanotech applications like these are finding their way into our food system at breakneck speeds. The bad news is that there are no FDA regulations for nanotechnology to ensure public health and the environment are protected.
In fact, very little research has been done on possible health effects from nanotechnology. The research that has been done associates significant health risks with both inhalation of nanomaterials and exposure to skin. Meanwhile, a 2012 National Research Council study reported “little progress” on research about health effects associated with oral consumption.
The FDA has drafted new guidance to industry on the use of nanotechnology in food, and is accepting public comment until July 24. IATP is collecting letters as part of an action campaign to tell the FDA to put consumer health first and impose mandatory regulation that protects public health.
Take part in our action alert, or for more information on nanotechnology in agriculture, read IATP’s 2011 report, Racing Ahead: U.S. Agri-Nanotechnology in the Absence of Regulation.